In previous articles on Medium, I described the pressing need to challenge and replace the predominant exploitative “SEAMs” paradigm of the World Wide Web. My brand new law journal article, “Hacking the SEAMs,” now explains in depth the whys and hows of creating a new Web paradigm, based on an empowering human-centered ethos.

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This article briefly summarizes my brand new law journal article, “Hacking the SEAMs: Elevating Digital Autonomy and Agency for Humans,” just published by the Colorado Technology Law Journal. Please give it a look: http://ctlj.colorado.edu/?page_id=1283.

You can also find more information at the GLIA Foundation website: www.glia.net.

Over…


Series: A Human-Centric Paradigm for the Web

Article Six (of Six)

Richard Whitt, Todd Kelsey

November 2020

“Your reaction to the datafication of life should not be to retreat to a log cabin in the woods, for they too are full of sensors; but to aggressively seek control of the data that matters to you. It’s good to have recommenders that find what you want and bring it to you; you’d feel lost without them. But they should bring you what you want, not what someone else wants you to have.” — Pedro Domingos, The Master Algorithm

Where We’ve Been


Series: A Human-Centered Paradigm for the Web

Article Five (of Six)

“We can be controlled from the outside not simply by having our choice bypassed but by someone controlling the world we perceive.” — Maria Brincker

Series Recap: Our story so far . . .

Over the first four articles in this series, we have discussed the desirability of replacing the Web’s current SEAMs cycles (surveillance, extraction, analysis, manipulation), with a new HAACS ethos (enhancing human autonomy/agency, via computational systems).

· Article one highlighted the dynamics of fostering large-scale systems change in our social institutions.

· Article two introduced us…


Todd Kelsey and Richard Whitt

This article is seventh in a series that explores the many individual and societal implications of how data is handled in the era of Covid. The series has introduced new approaches for protecting human agency and autonomy, including various forms of digital mediaries (such as digital fiduciaries and data trusts), and personal AIs. This culminating article proposes some actual projects. We are seeking input and partnership from any person, organization or company that may be interested in assisting. For further context you are invited to check out the series.

PROBLEM: Fidtech — the Missing Sector


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Further exploring CryptoData with the Data Tokenization white paper

Community Translation: Brazilian Portuguese| Russian | Spanish | Filipino | Turkish

In mid-September, we published a short blog posting describing the Oasis Foundation’s vision for a responsible data society. At its core is the concept of using a blend of advanced distributed ledger technologies to give human beings much more control over their own data. These technologies combine two foundational elements: the public and easily-shareable nature of tokenized data, with secure computing environments. The end result is the capability to produce a new form of cryptodata.

It’s been gratifying to hear from many a growing sense of interest and excitement…


Dr. John Snow: First Health Data Trust

Article Four (of Six)

“Trust and accountability: above all else, these are the pillars of public health.”

– Laurie Garrett[1]

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Dr. John Snow, Medical Data Detective

Recap: Our story so far

Over the first three articles in this series, we have discussed the desirability of replacing the Web’s current SEAMs cycles (surveil, extract, analyze, and manipulate), with a new HAACS ethos (enhancing human autonomy/agency, via computational systems). Article one highlighted the dynamics of fostering large-scale systems change in our social institutions. Article two introduced us to Carla, a typical Web user, and how “Userhood” and the SEAMs cycles reduce her agency in the digital world. Article…


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Introducing Blockchain 3.0 and Cryptodata

A Vision for a Responsible Data Economy

At the Oasis Foundation, we have been developing a vision for a responsible data society. Data is becoming one of society’s most valuable resources, and yet our current approaches fail to do justice to its intrinsic value. Our computational systems today have become siloed and mis-incentivized — failing to respect the basic rights of human beings. As a result, society to date has been unable to fully realize the value of the world’s flows of data.


HAACS in Action: Digital Fiduciaries, plus Personal AIs

Article Three (of Six)

“Trust can only be strengthened when people and systems actually have a reason to trust each other more.” -Lee McKnight, Syracuse University

Quick recap

In the first and second articles in this series, we looked at the desirability of replacing the Web’s exploitative “SEAMs” paradigm, which treats mere “users” to constant feedback cycles of surveillance, extraction, analysis, and manipulation. In its place was proposed a new “HAACS” ethos — fostering human autonomy and agency, via computational systems. We also noted how analog world concepts of trust and support…


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Proposing a new ethos for digital stewardship and a responsible data society.

Today, nearly half of the world’s population are digital citizens — connected to each other via the internet. Collectively as consumers we own some 3.5 billion smartphones, and on a regular basis rely on an additional 20–25 billion connected devices (such as smart IoT sensors, connected appliances, and wearables). Combined, these technologies of digital surveillance and data extraction yield an astonishing amount of data every single day — by at least one count, some 2.5 quintillion bytes.

For the most part, users and businesses do not directly benefit from the production and use of all that data. Even though users…


D>=A: Expanding our rights in the digital realm (Article 2 of 6)

Every historical crisis terminates in institutions. If we have no control over the crisis itself, which is pure hazard, we do have control over the institutions, since we can define them, choose the ones for which we will fight, and thus bend our efforts toward their establishment. Albert Camus, The Rebel (1956).

In the opening article of this series, we explored the necessity of creating enduring change in our failing social systems, in particular the exploitative ethos of the Web. Against the relentless online paradigm of “SEAMs” (Surveil…

Richard Whitt

Richard is a former Googler with a passion for making the open Web a more trustworthy and accountable place for human beings.

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